Government Says Performance of 16,962 Cell Towers Improved

Aiming to address the issue of call drops, the government has conducted a special audit of cell towers and said that of 34,600 cell towers operating poorly, about 16,962 have improved their performance and the rest are in progress.

Saying that the telecom department is monitoring the telecom service quality on a weekly to 10-day basis with all operators, an official statement from the Department of Telecom on Monday said: “In the entire country, a special audit was done to adjudge their performance.”

“Out of 34,600 cell towers operating poorly, about 16,962 towers have improved and the rest are in progress. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has also been requested to consider recommending incentives and disincentives for operators for call drops.”

It stated that the government has been taking proactive measures to address the issue of call drops from April this year and the telecom secretary took a meeting of all operators, directing them to improve the conditions.

Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is also monitoring the efforts.

“Some important policy decisions have been taken, whereby the Indian government buildings shall be permitted for installation of towers,” the statement said.

It said Prasad has written to the chief ministers to permit tower installation on the state government buildings also, as has been done by the Kerala government.

“Even the Department of Post has been directed to do so in a transparent manner. All these initiatives have been taken in the last three to four months,” it said.

Giving the example of the state of Bihar, the statement said: “In Bihar, in particular, in the 7th phase ofBSNL expansion, 1,150 2G BTS have been planned, out of which 620 BTS have been installed and working. Against 228 3G BTS in Bihar, 120 have been commissioned and become operational.”

WorldSpace Radio on Vodafone

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Vodafone in association with Timbre Media, a Bangalore-based start-up, today announced the launch of WorldSpace Radio for mobile users in India. The service is available across 18 circles with Vodafone customers gaining access to over 100,000 songs across 10 channels.

A monthly rental of Rs.30 will be charged offering 300 minutes of free usage. After 300 minutes, the user can get a top-up of Rs. 7 which will provide 70 minutes of free listening.

The service is currently active in Uttar Pradesh (East & West), Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Mumbai, Bihar, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa, Delhi, Chennai, and Tamil Nadu.

Vodafone Customers can activate this service by calling 58000 (Toll free) or SMS ACT Wrdaio to 111 (toll free) or USSD on *514*580#. Upon activation, when you dial 58000, you are greeted with a Hindi IVR welcoming you to the service and listing the options for various channels. You can choose from a variety of songs in different genres and languages ranging from romance and ghazals to even dance-hits.

If you disconnect and redial 58000, you are taken back to the song you were previously listening to if you do not press any number to go to a specific menu option. You can choose the channels by dialing 0 (Lists 5 channels). For further channel selection, you need to dial 6. This gives you a list of more regional channels. For any assistance during the call, you can dial 9. The IVR does not provide an English menu option.

As of now the service is solely voice-based, but the company soon plans to roll out a separate data streaming-based service at Rs.5 per day.

Here’s a list of the 10 exclusive channels:

Farishta – Best of Bollywood! 1
Tunak – The greatest Punjabi hits! 2
Falak – The greatest ghazals! 3
Sonar – Bengali music ever! 4
Umang – All the flavors of Gujarat! 5

Dial 6 for:

Surabhi – The best of Marathi music! (1)
Sparsha – Legends of Kannada music! (2)
Madhuri – Classics and latest Malayalam hits! (3)
Spandana – Best Telugu classics! (4)
Thenisai – The greatest hits in Tamil ever! (5)

SMS Alerts for Train Delays on Anvil

SMS alerts to passengers on train delays and setting up of 4,615 water vending machines at a number of railway stations are among the new initiatives of the Railways to improve facilities for passengers.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, while replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, indicated that SMS service on train delays is under consideration.

“There is a provision in this regard,” he said when asked whether such a facility would be available to passengers on the pattern of SMS alerts about status of train bookings.

Sinha said the capacity of the e-ticket system has been expanded and now as many as 7,200 tickets can be booked per minute. Earlier, only 2,000 tickets could be booked per minute.

“In the time to come, we will increase the (ticket booking) capacity,” he added.

The Railways has taken various measures to make booking or reservation of tickets easier and user friendly, he said.

Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) counters have been provided at more than 5,800 locations and around 1,500 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines have been installed.

To another question, the Minister said as a recent initiative, water vending machines are to be set up by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation at identified railway stations to provide low cost clean drinking water.

“At present shortlisting of agencies for water vending machines has been completed. 4,615 water vending machines are to be installed in a phased manner,” he said.

The estimated cost per machine is between Rs. 5,00,000 to Rs. 7,00,000 depending on the quality of parameters of raw water available at the railway station and it would require engagement of Rs. 2 to Rs. 3 persons per machine.

Sinha said it is the endeavour of the railways to provide drinking water at all stations as per norms depending upon the volume of passenger traffic handled.

In water-scarcity areas where existing sources are found inadequate to meet the water requirement at stations, water supply is augmented through tankers, the minister said.

He said augmentation of passenger amenities including provision of drinking water at railway stations is a continuous process and works in this regard are undertaken as per requirement, subject to priority and availability of funds.

To a question on whether the railways is aware that touts and other unscrupulous elements have dented the ticket mechanism, Sinha replied in the negative.

“However, some instances of booking of tickets by individual for commercial gains have been reported. Several checks have been introduced to curb the problem,” he said.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Top 10 New Features

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the latest refresh to the iPhone lineup: the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. Being an ‘s’ upgrade, both the new iPhone models largely look largely identical to their respective immediate predecessors (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), but both the new iPhone models come sporting new hardware capabilities, and a bunch of software features that are exclusively available for the new models.

“The only thing that’s changed is everything,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO on Wednesday as he announced the two new iPhone models. Regardless of which iPhone generation you currently use (or whatever Android handset you rock), the new features offered on both the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus might be enough to entice you to upgrade. Here are top 10 features that the new iPhone models offer.

1. 3D Touch

Apple announced at the event that both the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus come with Retina displays that support 3D Touch. The pressure-sensitive touch technology allows the handset to distinguish between a quick tap and a long press, triggering actions accordingly. The idea is that when you long press on an app’s icon, you’re now bestowed with several contextual options that could act as shortcuts and let you perform tasks quickly without actually opening the app first. You can, for instance, know direction to your home, listen to the album you like, update your Facebook status, as well as take a quick selfie camera without opening the corresponding apps.

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2. iSight camera improvements – 12-Megapixel and 4K

Both the new iPhone models come with improved cameras, upgrading the resolution from 8-megapixel to 12-megapixel. The range of the iSight camera has increased, and the colour accuracy has also improved, said Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. The company promises that it hasn’t made any trade-off for increasing the megapixel count. To keep the noise low, the company introduced something called “deep trench isolation” which makes the photo diodes separate and deliver precise colour.

There’s a new flash as well, which the company said adjusts to the colour and lighting of its surroundings to offer accurate flash. The new 12-megapixel rear camera now lets you record videos in 4K video resolution, a significant improvement from FHD quality (1080p) in several older iPhone models.

3. FaceTime camera improvements – 5-megapixel and 720p HD

The selfie camera is finally getting an improvement on the iPhone models. The company has upped the megapixel count from 1.2-megapixel to 5-megapixel on both the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus models. The iSight camera is getting a new flash as well. Instead of introducing a separate sensor, the company said that the front display will flash for a split second.

4. Live Photos

The new iPhone models are now capable of capturing Live Photos. The company said that it is bringing life to the static photos that we all take. By “live” it means that a static image will capture a second and a half before and after the image is shot to show continuity. One could set this as a wallpaper as well.

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5. Faster Touch ID

The company has also made refinements to Touch ID, its fingerprint scanner that allows one to unlock the device, feed password to accounts, and facilitate quick Apple Pay payments with simply putting the finger on the sensor.

The company said Wednesday that the Touch ID is now twice as fast, and more accurate as well.

6. More LTE bands

Apple has also upped the network capabilities of the iPhone, adding support for several LTE bands. The iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus now support up to 23 LTE bands, which is the most in any smartphone. The Advanced LTE in the new iPhone models, among other bands, supports T-Mobile’s 700MHz, confirmed the carrier’s CEO. It will support speeds of up to 300Mbps.

7. Faster Wi-Fi

The company, while didn’t discuss the technical improvements to the wireless adapter chip, announced that it is improving the Wi-Fi capabilities of the device. The device now supports two spatial streams for up to 866Mbps on 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

8. A9 processor

The processor inside the iPhone is getting an upgrade too, of course. The new iPhone models come with the Apple A9 SoC, which is claimed to deliver 70 percent faster CPU performance than the A8 processor on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and 90 percent faster GPU performance. The M9 coprocessor among other things, supports “Hey Siri” always-on voice search.

9. Rose Gold colour variant, and 7000 series aluminium body

The company received a lot of flak last year when several users reported that their iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6 were bending. Apple has quietly addressed that with a sturdier aluminium body – featuring 7000 series aluminium-zinc wrought alloy, the same used in the Apple Watch Sport edition.

10. iOS 9

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus ship with iOS 9, Apple’s latest iteration of its mobile operating system. It brings several new features, from proactive assistance and new and improved Siri features, to a brand new Notes app, revamped Maps app, and the News app.

Six Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features You Should Be Looking Forward To

The newest version of Android, version 6.0 named Marshmallow, has been available for developers to preview for some time now, with a public release pegged for November 2015. There are a lot of improvements that Google is promising with Android Marshmallow, which give you more control over the phone and improve performance, while also providing new ways to interact with your device.

(Also see: Why I Am Not Excited About Google’s Android M Update)

Here are the 6 features from Android 6.0 Marshmallow that we are most excited about.

1) App permissions
Application permissions have been completely overhauled in Android Marshmallow. Now you will be able to grant apps individual permissions to device functions, instead of the previous model of all or nothing.

What this means is, if an app is trying to access your phones camera or microphone, the system would prompt you saying this app is trying to access camera/ microphone on your device and it will ask, “Would you like to allow this?” It’s a big change from the current system where you have to either give an app access to all the services it wants; or not install the app.

Here’s another example: If you want to send a voice recording on WhatsApp, the system would give you a prompt telling you that WhatsApp is trying to access the microphone on your phone. This means you don’t have to agree to permissions from an app which doesn’t make sense to you, such as if you don’t want a specific camera app to access your contact list.

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Now you can also go into app settings and individually turn on or off app specific permissions at any time. This gives users complete control over an app, and resolves any privacy concerns they might have.

2) Now on Tap

This is one of the most impressive new features to be introduced with Android Marshmallow. Now on Tap takes the concept of the smart assistant Google Now, and spreads it across the entire OS so you can take advantage of it on any screen, regardless of what you are doing. All you need to do, is simply press and hold the home button, and Now on Tap will analyse the information you are looking at, to give you related cards.

For example, you get an SMS from a friend asking if you would like to go to watch the James Bond Spectre movie over the weekend; long press the home button and Google’s Now on Tap will automatically recognise the context of the text based on words like ‘movie’ and ‘James Bond Spectre’ and show you useful results, such as screening timings in nearby cinema halls, or ratings from IMDB.

3) Fingerprint support
While we’ve seen Android phones with fingerprint scanners, the implementation was done by vendors themselves. Android Marshmallow will support fingerprint scanners on phones natively now. The new feature will allow the scanners to be used to not only unlock your device, but also use it authorise payments using Android Pay in the offline world or within Play Store apps.

This is important because it will help standardise the implementation of fingerprint scanners in different Android devices, so app developers can take advantage of this new hardware as well. This will also encourage more phone makers to include fingerprint scanners in their devices.

(Also see: Android 6.0 Marshmallow Won’t Come With Dark Theme)

4) App links
App links, also known as Intents, is a feature where if you click on a link in your email or a text message, it asks you what app you would like to open it with. The same thing happens when you click on – for example – a video file or a Facebook link; you are shown all the app that can open the link and asked to choose the one you want to use.

This feature always allowed Android users to set their own default apps, but it was also annoying at times with frequent dialogue boxes asking which app you want to use. App links are now being updated in Marshmallow to show greater awareness of what you’re clicking on, instead of routinely stopping you to pop up dialogue boxes.

So, in Marshmallow, if you get an email with twitter link, it will launch the Twitter app instead of asking you to choose between that and the Chrome browser.

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5) Doze
One of the most common complaints faced by Android users has been unpredictable standby times on their phones. This happens because of apps running in the background, which can affect the standby time and performance.

Google is now looking to improve this with the feature called Doze. This is a new technology that learns over time and detects when your device is motionless and not being used, so it can be sent into a deep sleep mode. Once your phone is set to Doze, it checks for updates from apps less frequently, while still staying responsive for calls, messages, and other similar things. Google claims that internal tests have showed double the battery life on standby mode, when compared to Android 5.0.

6) Automatic backup and restore
A seamless back up feature is something which has been missing from Android for years, and it looks like Google has finally taken notice. With Android 6.0, you can set up automatic backups, which will back up apps and app settings of up to your Google Drive storage. There will be a limit of 25MB per app, and the backups will not count against your Google Drive storage limits, and are encrypted by default.

These backups happen no more than once a day and run only when the device is idle and is connected to a working Wi-Fi connection to avoid unwanted data charges and battery drain on your device.

This way you can change phones or just reset your phone and when you re-install your apps the previous data will be restored conveniently. This feature works even with apps which have been side-loaded or purchased through other app stores.

These six features are some of the highlights, in our view. Overall, Google is bringing some much needed polish and great new features to the OS in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and we can’t wait to try it on the final release.

iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, MacBook Air, TVs, Speakers, and More Tech Deals

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1. Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
The entry level variant of the 13-inch MacBook Air is now available at an all-time lowest effective price of Rs. 52,499 (effective after cashback). The last lowest price was around Rs. 55,000. The same variant sells at the price point of Rs. 62,500 at major online stores. Use the coupon code A10K to receive Rs. 10,000 as cashback in your Paytm Wallet. You can use this cashback to pay bills, recharge pre-paid connections or pay for your purchases. You can also use this cashback to pay on websites that accept Paytm Wallet. The MacBook Air 13-inch is powered by the Intel Core i5 processor, supported by 4GB of RAM. It comes with a 128GB SSD and runs OS X Yosemite out of the box. You’ll be able to upgrade it to OS X El Capitan when it releases by the end of September this year.

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2. Apple iPhone 5s 16GB
Now that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have been announced, Apple has reduced the MRPs on previous iPhone variants. This can only mean one thing – more discounts. The iPhone 5s 16GB is now down to Rs. 26,990 (with cashback) at Paytm and Rs. 30,799 (without cashback) on Amazon. That’s the same price point the smartphone was sold during the Diwali sale last year around. The selling price might fall a bit further, but won’t go down as much as Rs. 26,990 being offered on Paytm. If you are looking for an iPhone under the Rs. 30,000 price point, the 5s is still a pretty decent device. It works well on iOS 9 and can be a great gift for your parents or relatives. The iPhone 5s comes with an 8MP primary camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. It features a 4-inch Retina Display, and is powered by Apple’s A7 processor.

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3. AmazonBasics MFi certified mini Lightning cable
Amazon finally introduced its AmazonBasics brand of accessories in India recently. It is currently selling the MFi certified mini Lightning cable for Rs. 799 (MRP Rs. 1,665). The cable is available in black and white colors. It is just 4-inches long, making it a perfect cable for charging using power banks or other specific use cases where you don’t need a very long cable. At this price, it’s also one of the most affordable MFi certified Lightning cables in the market. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty which covers manufacturing issues but won’t work in case you end up damaging the cable intentionally. The cable is compatible with all devices with Apple’s Lightning port.

Price: Rs. 799 (MRP Rs. 1,665)

Link: Amazon

4. House of Marley Get Together Bluetooth portable speaker
Amazon is running a promotional sale on portable speakers for two days. You can grab the House of Marley Get Together wireless speaker for Rs. 9,495 (MRP Rs. 19,990). The speakers normally retail at the Rs. 13,000 price point on Amazon. House of Marley Get Together speakers are compatible with almost all Bluetooth devices. They sound just as good as they look. They come with buttons for power, volume and Bluetooth pairing options. In case you want to use a wired connection you can use a standard 3.55mm audio input. They come with an in-built Lithium ion battery that can last as long as 8 hours on a single charge.

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5. Apple iPhone 6 64GB space grey
With the iPhone 6s announcement and Apple India’s price drop on the iPhone 6, the discounts are likely to get even sweeter at online stores. The iPhone 6 64GB is still available at an effective price of Rs. 46,380 (using cashback) at Paytm. If you’re waiting for a further discount during Diwali, you really shouldn’t. If anything, the prices for the 16GB variant might be lowered and only for a limited stocks, just like last Diwali. The 64GB and higher variants don’t quite get a massive discount as we saw last year. The iPhone 6 is still a great buy at this price. The smartphone is powered by a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, supported by 1GB of RAM. It comes with an 8MP primary camera and a front-facing camera for video calls. It runs iOS 8 out of the box and you’ll be able to upgrade it to iOS 9 later this September.

 

6. Panasonic 42-inch Smart LED TV
If you’re looking for a smart TV below the Rs. 40,000 price point, the Panasonic 42-inch Smart LED TV is worth a look. The full HD TV is now available at an effective price of Rs. 38,868 on Paytm. The TV normally retails at around Rs. 48,000 online. The Panasonic 42-inch smart LED TV features a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It offers a viewing angle of around 176 degrees. There are two HDMI ports and two USB ports for connecting devices. The TV comes with a full 1-year manufacturer warranty and the installation is carried out by the company itself. The seller on Paytm will accept returns within the 7-day window period in case anything goes wrong.

15 iOS 9 Features That Make Your iPhone and iPad Better Than Ever

There are several great features in iOS 9 that bridge the gap between the OS and its apps. This deeper integration is bound to please people who use the platform as everyday tasks are now much faster on iOS. Apart from that, Apple has also promised improved performance and battery life on older iOS devices. Here are the best new features of iOS 9.

1) Smoother performance on old iOS devices
This is our favourite feature as it breathes new life into old iOS devices. As we reported earlier, iOS 9 brings smoother switching between apps, quicker load times and less lag on devices such as iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3.

2. Faster app switcher
Switching between apps is much faster on iOS thanks to a new interface. You can double-tap the home button to pull up the new interface, in which each app takes up less space on screen. You can also swipe upwards with four fingers on the iPad to pull up the new app switcher.

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3. Better, faster Siri
Apple’s virtual assistant Siri now does a much better job understanding Indian accents than ever before. We’ve also seen that it responds more quickly to queries. Siri can also respond to more contextual queries, such as: “Show me photos taken in Delhi”.

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4. Proactive assistance
This is one of the most useful features of iOS 9. Based on your usage, the OS will try to provide helpful suggestions. For instance when you plug in headphones, iOS 9 will suggest that you resume the podcast you had paused. Or, if an unknown number calls, iOS 9 will check your emails, to try and show you the contact’s name. Proactive search also shows you nearby points of interest in some regions – such as places to visit for shopping, food, and more.

5. Better Spotlight search
Spotlight search can now search within apps as well. Type anything into the search bar and you will see results from within apps that have been updated to add support for this feature. iOS 9 will show apps you open or contacts you reach out to at any given time of the day. In some regions, people will also be shown interesting places to visit nearby and news based on what they’ve been reading on the Apple News app.

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6. Battery optimisations
Apple’s iOS 9 comes with a new low-power mode that automatically cuts data use and triggers other settings to extend your device’s battery life. This can be found under Settings > Battery. With iOS 9, the iPhone’s screen won’t be switched on if the device is lying face down on any surface. Apple claims that these tweaks will improve your iOS device’s battery life by one hour, with low power mode extending it even further.

7. Better security
The four-digit passcode can now be replaced with a six-digit code that is much harder to crack. While a four-digit code means there are only around 10,000 possible combinations, the new six-digit code takes that number up to 1 million.

8. iPad-only features
Apple’s renewed focus on the iPad shows in the number of software tweaks exclusively available for the company’s tablet line. The Notification Centre on the iPad show up in a neat two-column view – one for Today view and the other for notifications. The iPad also gets new features such as SlideOver (check another app while using the current one), Picture-in-Picture mode (watch a video while using other apps) and split-screen multitasking. SlideOver and Picture-in-Picture are available on the iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro; split-view is only for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro.

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9. Improved keyboard
The default QuickType keyboard app on iOS 9 comes with a shortcut bar that lets you add attachments, copy or paste quickly, and even has undo and redo buttons. iPad users can swipe on the keyboard with two fingers to access the trackpad mode. This makes selecting and editing text a lot easier. If you connect a physical keyboard to the iPad, you can use several keyboard shortcuts such as command-tab to switch between apps, making the experience more laptop-like.

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10. App thinning
This feature saves a lot of space on your iOS device. Your device will only download the resources needed for the app to run on your device, as opposed to downloading those needed for the app to run on all iOS devices. Game developers can let users download certain levels when players reach them rather than downloading all levels during installation.

11. Improved Notes app
You can now save attachments directly to the Notes app, via an extension. This is useful if you need to save links, maps, or documents. The Notes app also has an attachments browser that organises everything you save to the app. It also automatically turns lists into checklists and lets you add photos or even doodle.

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12. Content blockers
Apple’s Safari browser on iOS 9 supports content blocker extensions. These let you block ads and other elements on webpages. This will significantly reduce load times for websites, thereby reducing data usage and improving your device’s battery life. This is restricted to iOS devices running 64-bit chips, which means it’ll work only on iPhone 5s or newer, iPad Air or newer, and iPod touch 6th generation.

13. Quick replies
If you get a text notification, you can pull it down and reply without opening the Messages app. This has been possible since iOS 8. With iOS 9, third-party app developers can implement this feature. So, for example, when a notification pops up that someone has left a comment on your photo, you could quickly ‘like’ their comment or reply to it without interrupting your work – should Facebook decide to implement this feature.

14. iCloud Drive
There’s a new iCloud Drive app on iOS 9. This will let you browse the contents of your iCloud Drive, while earlier you were limited to seeing your iCloud documents from within the apps where you had created them.

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15. Return to apps quickly
When you open a Twitter link from the Mail app, you can now quickly return to Mail by tapping theBack to Mail link on the top left. This feature works with many other apps too, making switching between them a lot faster and simpler. This also eliminates the need for many iOS apps to design an in-built browser. You could click a link in the show notes in your podcast app, read it in Safari and return to the podcast app quickly by tapping the Back to Podcasts link.

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Bonus: Apple News
Apple’s own Flipboard-like News app lets you read articles from various news sources in a beautiful interface. Unfortunately this feature will initially be available only in the US, UK and Australia. Another change is that the old Newsstand app has been removed. All the magazines you subscribe to will now show up just like apps on your home screen instead of inside the Newsstand app.

(Also see: How You Can Get the iOS 9 Apple News App Outside the US)

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20 Awesome Hidden Features of iOS 9

There are several hidden features in iOS 9 that are very useful. There are nifty features to improve battery life, and tweaks that improve the security of you iOS device, along with small tweaks like the Bluetooth battery widget and reorganised folders on iPads that make the experience of using your device that little bit better. Here is a list of features that you may not have spotted on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

1) Swipe right to invoke Spotlight
Spotlight has been reinstated to a screen of its own in iOS 9. Before iOS 7, Spotlight could be invoked by swiping right from (moving to the left of) the main home screen, but this hasn’t been the case with recent iOS versions. Here you will also see Siri’s suggestions for apps and contacts based on what apps you use and who you contact at any given time of the day. Note that you can also use Spotlight search by swiping downwards on the home screen, as in iOS 7 and iOS 8.

2) Settings search
The settings app is one of the more crowded and confusing parts of your iPhone or iPad – but now, you don’t need to know where every setting is. The search bar at the top of the Settings app lets you quickly find whatever options you were looking for, to easily make the changes you want.

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3) Low power mode
Running out of charge? Go to Settings > Battery and enable Low Power Mode. This disables certain visual effects, automatic downloads (apps, songs, etc), mail fetch, and background app refresh to improve battery life.

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4) App screen time
Go to Settings > Battery and tap the clock icon under Battery Usage. This will give you detailed app usage information, and shows you how much time an app has been active, or running in the background. If an app is using a lot of battery while in the background, removing it could solve some battery woes.

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5) Batteries widget
Open the Notification Centre and add the Battery widget. You will see the battery level of your iPhone, and also all paired devices like Apple Watch or Bluetooth headphones. It also has a tiny icon there to let you know if the device is charging.

6) Photo folders
The photo album on your iPhone or iPad has always been a slightly cluttered mess, but iOS 9 has brought some changes that could help. Open the Photos app and tap Albums. You’ll see that all your photos are now neatly categorised into folders, such as Selfies, Panoramas, Screenshots, and more.

7) iPad folders

If you’ve created folders on the home screen of you iPad, you will notice that there are four apps per row in each folder, and four rows, as opposed to the three by three grid in iOS 8. That means that each page of a folder can now show 16 apps at a time, which is handy as you won’t have to keep hunting for apps hidden away behind pages now. This is just one of the many iPad-specific tweaks in iOS 9.

8) Keyboard shortcuts

QuickType keyboard on the iPad has several nifty features in iOS 9. An entire shortcut bar at the top lets you quickly add attachments, formatting, and has nice undo and redo buttons too. Swiping on the keyboard with two fingers unveils a trackpad mode. This trackpad feature comes to iPads, and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (via 3D Touch). If you plug in a Bluetooth keyboard accessory, you can use quite a few shortcuts such as command-N to create a new document in certain apps such as Pages. Third-party apps like Microsoft Outlook have also been updated to make use of this feature.

9) Return to app
Moving between apps is a lot easier on iOS 9. If an app opens a link in another app, you’ll be able to get back to the first app without needing the app switcher. For example, if you open a link in the Messages app, it will open in Safari. To return to the app, just tap the Back to Messages link on the top-left.

10) Custom numeric passcode

If you don’t want to set a six-digit passcode or a regular password comprising alphabets and numbers, you can create a custom numeric passcode in iOS 9. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Change Passcode. Tap Passcode Options and select Custom Numeric Code.

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11) Spotlight calculator
Spotlight search can now search within third-party apps, and doubles up as your calculator and currency converter. Just type $600 in the search bar and Spotlight will show the equivalent rupee amount right there. You can also perform basic calculations using the search bar.

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12) Quickly select photos
Open the Photos app, go to the album of your choice and tap Select on the top-right. Now just slide your finger over a bunch of photos and you will see that they’re all getting selected. This is much faster than manually tapping each photo to select it.

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13) Contextual Siri search
You can ask Siri to remind you about something tomorrow or to show you photos taken in Mumbai. Siri has now become a lot better at processing natural language.

(Also see: iOS 9 Search Showing Too Many Results? Here’s a Simple Fix)

14) Who’s calling?
Getting a call from an unknown number? Siri will check your emails to try and show you the name of the contact.

15) Better Reader mode
Safari’s inbuilt reader mode makes it easier to read articles. Once you enable it you can tap and hold the AA icon on the top-right to see several new iBooks-like options such as changing the fonts and night mode.

16) Safari share sheet
In Safari tap the share icon and you will see several new options. For example, you can now save webpages to pdf via iBooks in two taps. Also new in the share sheet are extensions that let you request the desktop version of any site and find words on the webpage. You can also save links to the new and improved Notes app or add them to the Reminders app directly.

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17) Paste and go
Copy a URL and tap and hold the address bar in Safari. This will reveal a Paste and Go button. If you copy any other search term, this button changes to Paste and Search.

18) Grouped notifications

You still can’t dismiss all notifications at once, but you can now dismiss all notifications from any one day at once. This is because iOS 9 groups notifications by date rather than by app. You can toggle this via Settings > Notifications > Group By App.

19) Mail improvements
The Mail app now lets you add markup to any photo. Select any photo you’ve attached, tap and hold, press the > button and tap Markup. Here you can annotate the picture and even add a digital signature.

20) Safari reload
Safari’s reload page button on the top-right hides a couple of interesting features. Open any webpage and tap and hold the reload button. Now you will see two options slide up – Request Desktop Site and Reload Without Content Blockers. The second one will appear only if you are using a content blocker app.

 

 

iOS 9 Search Showing Too Many Results? Here’s a Simple Fix

One of the best new features of iOS 9 is Spotlight search. It has been a key feature of iOS for long, but this time it has received new features, such as the ability to show search results from third-party apps. While this is a great feature, if you have a lot of apps installed, it can clutter your Spotlight search results, making it hard to actually find what you were looking for.

If every single app on your iOS device tries to show its search results in the same feed, then Spotlight can become unusable. There is an easy way to keep some apps out of Spotlight search results. Here’s how to remove the clutter from Spotlight search.

  1. Open Settings > General > Spotlight Search on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 9.
  2. Now scroll down and you will see a list of apps that support Spotlight search.
  3. If there’s an app whose results won’t be necessary for Spotlight search results, toggle its button to the off position. This could be useful for removing results from something like Notes, for example, if you only use it as a scratchpad, with no useful information.

This will keep results from unwanted apps away from Spotlight search on iOS 9. Did this work for you? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, head to our How To section.

Spies to Smartphones Britain’s Aga Set for Another New Chapter

The sale of oven maker Aga Rangemaster to a US owner with global ambitions caps the transformation of a quintessential English country brand created by some of the biggest names in global design, advertising – and espionage.

The acquisition of Aga for $202 million (roughly Rs. 1,331 crores) by Middleby Corporation follows a brief bidding war with US rival Whirlpool for the maker of the colourful cast-iron stoves that can weigh as much as a male polar bear, cost $18,000 (roughly Rs. 11,86,725) and, in older versions, take two days to heat.

The deal, set to be completed this week, marks the latest in a list of premium British brands to fall under foreign ownership in recent years, to the dismay of some business commentators who want to see it kept in British hands.

But the sale to a US company is also testament to the enduring appeal of a product invented in 1922, the year James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was published and radio took off.

In Britain, it has become synonymous with aspirational middle-class country living and inspires huge loyalty in owners, including members of the royal family and Prime Minister David Cameron.

It struggled as demand was hit during the global financial crisis, but has recently returned to form with modern, more efficient versions of the cooker, and hopes to build on its heritage by exploiting Middleby’s global network.

“The fundamental design of the Aga has always been its virtue but behind the front and the look is now a completely different product,” Aga Rangemaster CEO William McGrath told Reuters, before he steps down as part of the sale.

“The design makes it iconic, the radiant heat makes it iconic but how it is delivered is something that has changed from generation to generation, from solid fuel, through oil and gas to electric and now programmable electric.”

The heat, created by the continuously burning stove, made the old Aga distinctive, but it also drew its critics.

Great in winter when it could heat half the house, one owner complained that you “sweat buckets while boiling an egg” in summer. For many the cost of fuel can also prove prohibitive while environmental groups criticised the impact of the traditional stoves.

Modern versions can be easily switched on and off, including with a smartphone, while smaller models have been created to appeal to city dwellers.

Around 80 percent of those sold today are the newer, more efficient designs that have been launched since 2011, and are offered in a variety of colours from rose, pewter and lemon to pistachio and aubergine.

“You can get all the virtues of an Aga in a 60 centimetre package, which is something we’d expect over the next five to 10 years to become a more and more appreciable part of the business,” said McGrath. The largest version of the stove can be 2.5 times that size.

Aspirational living
McGrath said the new owner was also drawn to its heritage – a company with a history that reads like a spy novel.

Created in 1922, the first Aga was invented by Swedish Nobel Prize winning physicist Gustaf Dalen who, confined to his home after being blinded in an accident, witnessed his wife struggling to cook on their old range.

By 1929 manufacturing had begun in central England, with early sales driven by David Ogilvy, a salesman who went on to become one of the most famous advertising men in the world, the original ‘Mad Men’ and founder of the Ogilvy & Mather ad agency.

Newer versions were designed by Raymond Loewy – who produced some of the most famous product designs in history, includingGreyhound Scenicruiser buses, Coca-cola vending machines, Lucky Strike boxes and the livery of Air Force One. He worked with Douglas Scott, who later designed London’s famous red buses.

A written history of the company notes however that several of the leading protagonists including Ogilvy, his brother Francis and W.T. Wren, an early Aga boss, also played important roles for Britain in World War Two, either as spies, writing for Winston Churchill or in aircraft manufacturing.

Britain is still Aga’s biggest market but they can now be found in the United States, Europe and China, and Middleby aims to take the brand further afield.

The sale adds to concern among some Britons about the number of prominent companies that have been bought by foreign owners, including department store Harrods, toy brand Hamleys and chocolate maker Cadbury. They fear that such sales could ultimately put UK jobs at risk and dilute much of the brand’s appeal – its intrinsic Britishness.

McGrath is more positive, saying his firm hopes to mirror the success of another luxury British brand, Jaguar Land Rover, which has flourished under the ownership of India’s Tata Group.

“We’d love to get in the wheel tracks of Jaguar Land Rover,” said McGrath. “Now the product has evolved, the potential can be immense because the brand is much loved.”